Advocating: Love Not Fear

By Leah Kelley

H just shared with me:SidelightH.jpg

“In Tales from the Darkside from 1983 – there is one episode where there is a monster in this boy’s room, and he advocates for himself and tells the monster ‘Hey this is my room’ and the monster backs off and the boy gets the power over his room.”

Then going deeper – he replays this part of the episode and explains some of the plot and dynamics as he sees he has caught my interest:

“Mom look – here the part where he advocates for himself. His dad is a real jerk. He thinks he should stop being 6 years old and be a man right now: he [the dad] thinks he has the right to do what he wants.”

Sensitive to my reluctance to watch scary stuff:

“Don’t worry, Mom, it’s not that scary – there is an octopus man under his bed and a buzz saw – but it is just his imagination… Here it comes. You have got to see how he advocates for himself.”

We watch together – and then move on to discuss the deeper aspects about how the boy in the segment advocates for his space and also with his father.

Hdonotlisten.jpgH is getting this stuff. He is understanding what it means to advocate for himself or others and he is developing an ever-stronger sense of his right to take a stand.

As parents we nurture this young man’s sense of self and his heart for social justice with our acceptance and love. Empowering my child in this way – requires a little bit of letting go.

Sometimes… actually… a lot of letting go.

And letting go can be scary… but it is important to understand that fear is mine… 

I have to be willing stop holding the reins tightly and give H room to make decisions. Giving up control. This is love…

Love. Not. Fear.

I am open to other ways of seeing and doing and I work to set aside my reading of tone – so that I hear the intended message.  This is not easy to do and it is sometimes a messy thing, particularly with a teenager… but I am supporting H in finding his voice. Sometimes this means I have to silence mine. This is love…

Love – not – fear!

Over a Thai dinner in Chicago, I told two friends that we had H enrolled in a Social Skills Group. (They almost sprayed their beverages at me…)

I waited a beat – then smirked and confessed: “It’s true he is hanging out and learning to play Magic the Gathering at a local collectables store. He is socializing there and connecting with others in a way that will help him find community.”HAtMagic2.jpg

We laughed… and then more seriously talked about how this represents the authentic honouring of H and his interests in a way that creates opportunity for growth… without stigma.  At times I have felt the pull and pressure to enroll my kid in therapies and interventions, but too often I have seen these done poorly. I have seen my own son (and others) anxious and shamed for not using strategies and skills people assume they should be using. I am working to offer information and strategies and opportunities to H in a way that does not make him feel like he is broken and needs to be fixed.

This is love… Love not fear ♥ 

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Filed under #LoveNotFear Flashblog, #PosAutive Action for Social Justice, Acceptance, Autism, Boycott Autism Speaks, Love Not Fear

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